So again, we had to make a judgment call to determine what we feel is most important for whatever time we're in the hospital. The big obstacles:
- Since we moved, our hospital is now at least 40 minutes away (without traffic, which is almost never). That means Terry won't be able to easily just pop back home for anything we forgot. Luckily the grandparents will be around, so if there's something crucial left behind we can send them to grab it.
- As with every couple, we can't know for sure how long we'll be in the hospital. Our hospital recommends planning for 1-2 nights for a vaginal birth and 4-5 nights for a C-section, so we're packing for about 3 nights. If we need more than that, Terry will need to make a trip home.
With all that said, here's what we finally decided to bring to the hospital (and don't worry, I made a gorgeous, color-coded spreadsheet to help us stay organized), all packed in a carry-on size suitcase:
For Mom (<--I'm still completely bewildered that that's me!)
- Bathrobe: I actually bought a light cotton robe (in navy--most people I talked to recommend dark colors so stains aren't as much of a concern) for $20 at Target. It'll be great in case I'm chilly and will make nursing easy.
- Nightgown: Similarly, I bought an inexpensive, short nightgown. It's not technically a maternity gown, but it's super soft and wide enough that it fits my belly. And it's black, again to prevent stains.
- Other comfy clothes: I have some soft pajama shorts, two tank tops from Motherhood, two tank tops from Target (not maternity, but in a larger size so they aren't tight), and a pair of leggings in case it's chilly.
- Underwear and nursing bras: I bought a nursing bra and a nursing tank top from Target, both of which are stretchy and comfy and inexpensive. I'm also packing several pairs of my own underwear, although I understand that apparently the hospital provides disposable mesh undies, which I'm sure will be just fine.
- Socks and slippers: A few pairs of thick, fuzzy socks to walk from the bed to the bathroom (our hospital has private rooms with bathrooms attached, but I assume I'll be cold) and a pair of slippers for walking the halls.
- Flip flops: For walking around the halls and leaving the hospital.
- Coming home outfit: I actually haven't packed this one yet! I think I'll go with something comfy that I've felt good in throughout my pregnancy, in hopes that we'll get a few family photos leaving the hospital.
- Nursing pads
- Nursing cover
- 3 shirts
- 2 pairs of shorts
- The usual stuff: toothbrushes, toothpaste, contact solution, glasses, face wash, lotion, hair brush, makeup, etc.
- Hand wash: Since we had our birth classes at the hospital, I noticed that I hated the smell of the hand wash in the bathrooms. I bought a small hand wash to bring along so that I don't get sick of the smell.
- Witch hazel: Seems like a pretty universal recommendation for helping the healing process along.
- Mouthwash: For freshening up during labor without having to brush my teeth.
- Thick pads, another fairly universal recommendation.
- Our birth class notes and books for reference during labor (more useful at home than at the hospital, but still worth packing).
- My breastfeeding book, The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding by La Leche League.
- A journal, for jotting down memories about the day.
- Camera, charged and ready to go
- Cell phone charger
- Water bottles
- Snacks from home: Lara bars, fruit, etc.
- Pillows for labor and for sleeping.
- Cash for parking (we never have cash, so we needed to pre-pack this one).
- Copies of our birth plan
- Insurance cards and IDs
- Some homemade muffins for the nurses, as a thank you
For Baby: I'm putting all these items in our diaper bag, so that we can leave them in the car when we first arrive and Terry can go back for them later.
- Two receiving blankets (one is slightly more boyish, one a little more girly).
- Swaddling blanket, just because I love it and think it's super cute for coming home.
- A few onesies
- A few side-snap t-shirts: Apparently these help protect the belly button.
- Baby's coming home outfit: Neither Terry nor I truly understands the hype surrounding this monumentally important outfit, but we still chose a cute one for baby's trip home!
- Socks (2) and mittens (2)
It seems like a LOT! But it all fits in our small carry-on and the diaper bag, except the pillows. I'm sure we'll find some items completely useless, and I'm sure there are a few things we haven't thought of. But I also know we'll be just fine, and we can buy any emergency items if needed.